CDT Day 26

21.8 miles hiked, official mile 609.2 camping @ 7976ft
Yesterday I listened to a podcast with Arianna Huffington about her new book on sleep. So many interesting points, but a big one was waking up without an alarm, as an alarm has you commence your day in flight or fight mode. Finish sleeping when you need to finish sleeping.
I wholeheartedly embrace this and wake up with the sun this morning…at 5:30am. Clearly this isn’t going to work and I close my eyes again for a half hour… except that it isn’t a half hour, it’s 1.5hours!
I definitely needed it as I’m not in the best mental space right now. I love hiking my myself, making my own rules, doing exactly what I want. But I miss my hiker family, chatting with other hikers about their adventures, camping with others at night, hanging in town. Being one of the last hikers to start a NOBO hike means that I’ve not many hikers around me. Flipping to finish the hike as a SOBO has always been a possibility due to the large amount of snow that is currently holding up hikers at the New Mexico / Colorado border. If I flip I can give the snow time to melt so I’m not hiking in avalanche conditions, as well as having hikers around me as I hike through grizzly country.  It all seems to add up to a good idea and I make the decision. I’m going to be a NO-SOBO hiker!
Mood lifted, I slowly get up, eat some things, meditate, pack up my things, hike on.
The sun is shining and it’s a lovely day as I march along the dirt road. I yell good morning to the cows and turn on my podcasts.
The water stop is pretty gross. I have to climb down into a canyon and collect water from a sludgy pool there. I filter it and add my tastiest electrolytes (raspberry Scratch! Yum!) but it tastes like feet. Raspberry feet.
I walk on a little ways and a truck comes along so I stand off to the side to let them pass. It’s 2 men who live close by and offer me water!!! Um Yes please!!! The trail provides.
A couple more miles and I sit down on the edge of the road in a little spot of shade to eat lunch. Sunflower butter and crackers is the lunch of choice for this resupply. The past 2 days I’ve been spoilt as I packed out some bagels – luxury! Bagels gone, it’s crackers today. As I sit and munch I see some clouds gathering in the distance. Hmmm…what do you think you are doing clouds??
A bunch more miles and the next water is down a big giant canyon half a mile off trail. I think this is the farthest I’ve gone off trail for water this hike, but it’s described as clear and the best water in this section so I’m keen. Over a barbed wire fence and the water is wonderful! A pipe flows into an algae filled trough, but the water flowing is great. I take more than is needed for this stretch as I don’t think the next water will be as nice. I’ll put up with the heavy pack.
 I’m back up the top of the canyon climb adjusting my pack, and see some white things falling on the ground. Noooooo! Another hail storm! I quickly put on my jacket and put the rain cover on my pack and it starts pelting!!! So much hail it covers the ground making it completely white.
After 10 or so minutes it slows down so I make a run for it and eventually get clear of the storm cloud. I can hear it grumbling behind me for a while but just keep telling it to rack off. It doesn’t listen and instead decides to rain. Blergh.
Oh well on I hike in the rain, until it rains no more.
The road turns into a trail that goes cross country. I see a clearing in the distance and head towards it to be surprised with a magnificent view! I’m on top of a huge cliff face and there is a gorgeous valley filled with all kinds of cool geological structures. I’m headed down there in a few miles.
It’s an awfully steep descent so I choose to camp up top in the most sheltered spot I can find – the wind is doing her thing again tonight! Ramen, vitamins, water, teeth, sleep.

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